Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Wrinkle-free Mice Provide Clues About Obesity, Wrinkles And Hair Growth

Date:
April 9, 2003
Source:
Washington University School Of Medicine
Summary:
What do wrinkles, hair growth and obesity have in common? All three may involve the same gene, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

St. Louis, April 2, 2003 -- What do wrinkles, hair growth and obesity have in common? All three may involve the same gene, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Related Articles


The team discovered that mice with a mutation in the gene that produces a protein already being investigated as a target for anti-obesity drugs fail to develop wrinkles or normal hair growth.

The study is scheduled to appear the week of April 7 in the Online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Jeffrey H. Miner, Ph.D, associate professor of medicine and of cell biology and physiology, led the study; Casey L. Moulson, Ph.D, research associate in medicine, is first author.

"This certainly was a surprise to us," Miner says. "Obviously these are very preliminary findings, but they may provide insight into a variety of conditions. For example, if a drug could partially inhibit this protein, it might be able to mimic some of the traits of these wrinkle-free mice. These results also raise the possibility that anti-obesity drugs targeting this protein may cause side effects elsewhere in the body."

While developing genetically altered mice for a different purpose, the team discovered that one strain of mice had perpetually open mouths and extremely tight, thick skin. The animals resembled humans with a rare genetic disorder called restrictive dermopathy. Like humans with the disease, the mice died shortly after birth.

In addition, when skin samples from these mice were grafted onto healthy animals, they did not develop nearly as much hair as skin grafts from normal mice.

The team was even more surprised by the location of the genetic mutation in these mice – it was in a gene that triggers production of a protein believed to transport fatty acids. The gene already is considered a potential target for anti-obesity drugs.

The protein, called fatty acid transport protein 4 (FATP4) is one of six proteins of its kind identified in humans and one of five in mice. When added to cells in a petri dish, these proteins change the way cells absorb fatty acids. Since FATP4 is the only such protein found in the intestine, it is thought to be important in processing fatty acids from the diet. But there is little scientific evidence about the protein's role in living mice and humans.

"No one even considered that this protein may be involved in skin development," Miner says. "In fact, of the 14 candidate genes we identified, this was one of the last ones we examined because it seemed like such an unlikely culprit."

During development, the skin forms a barrier to keep water from evaporating out of the body and to prevent harmful substances from entering. Mice with the FATP4 mutation did not fully develop this skin barrier. Instead, they had skin about three times as thick as that of normal mice. The team concludes that abnormal skin thickness may be used to attempt to compensate for the missing protective shield.

But the FATP4 mutation may play an even earlier role in development. The skin's natural barrier cannot be made without lipids (a class of molecules that includes fatty acids), but it does not begin to form until late in embryonic development. In contrast, Miner and his colleagues found significant wrinkle and hair-growth deficiencies much earlier in development.

"These findings demonstrate a critical and unexpected role for FATP4 and suggest that lipids may have a role in earlier developmental stages of skin formation than previously thought," Miner explains. "In collaboration with others at the School of Medicine who already have been investigating FATP4 and its relatives, we plan to further examine the role of these proteins in important developmental pathways."

Miner and his team have applied for a patent for the use of inhibitors of FATP4 to prevent wrinkling or hair growth and plan to continue investigating the protein's role in skin development and in the intestine.

###

Moulson CL, Martin DR, Lugus JJ, Schaffer JE, Lind AC, Miner JH. Cloning of wrinkle free, a previously uncharacterized mouse mutation reveals crucial roles for fatty acid transport protein 4 in skin and hair development. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, April 2003.

Funding from the National Institutes of Health supported this research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington University School Of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Washington University School Of Medicine. "Wrinkle-free Mice Provide Clues About Obesity, Wrinkles And Hair Growth." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 April 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/04/030409075417.htm>.
Washington University School Of Medicine. (2003, April 9). Wrinkle-free Mice Provide Clues About Obesity, Wrinkles And Hair Growth. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/04/030409075417.htm
Washington University School Of Medicine. "Wrinkle-free Mice Provide Clues About Obesity, Wrinkles And Hair Growth." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/04/030409075417.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins